Our next parable is that of the rich man and Lazarus. In Luke 16, Jesus told the story of a rich man who was living in luxury every day. Then in contrast there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was full of sores and laid at the rich man’s gate begging for even the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. “Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” – Let us not digress and talk about the misinterpretation of that phrase – where one man said – “There is a place in the Bible where a dog’s name is recorded, the Bible said, “Moreover the dog..” so the dog’s name is “Moreover.”
Continuing with the story – Jesus told how the beggar died and was taken to heaven (Abraham’s bosom). “The rich man also died and was buried.” He was in Hades (hell) tormented. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ (vs. 24).
Abraham answered – “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented.” Furthermore, Abraham explained that there was a gulf between heaven and hell so that no one from either place can go to the other place.
Concerned about His Five Brothers
In a moment of compassion or realization, the rich man was concerned about his five brothers who were still alive. The phrase “I would not wish this on my worst enemy” comes to mind, who knows, this may have been the thought in the rich man’s head. So, he asked if Lazarus could go to his father’s house to “testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”
The Genius of Our Master Teacher
Father Abraham however, suggested that they have Moses and the prophets who have and are testifying to them through the written word. But the rich man insisted, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Now here is the genius of our Master Teacher Jesus Christ the Messiah.
“But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Vs 31) Brilliant!
Romans 10: 9-10 and St. John Chapter 1
Jesus died and returned from the dead – is everyone believing His testimony now in the world. Do you, whose eyes are reading this article, believe Jesus’ testimony? If you don’t just confess right now, “Lord I am a sinner, I repent of all my sins, Jesus, come into my life as I surrender all to You now. Amen. If you said that sincerely then go read Romans 10: 9-10 and the Gospel of John chapter 1 (but I digress – in a good way though)
An Ingenious Way
What an ingenious way Jesus took the story right to us with that phrase “neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’
Teaching Us How to Think
Our thesis from the beginning of this series on the parables of Jesus, is that, among other things, Jesus is teaching us how to think. We should not think like the rich man and ignore a beggar with sores lying at his gate for years, undoubtedly. What we ignore may come back to judge us. We should think of others and help when the opportunities arise, and the Holy Spirit of God gives us the green light. We also seek Him about how we offer the help, but help, we are commanded to do.
Not a Ticket to Heaven
Jesus is also showing us that our opulence (wealth and influence) is not a ticket to heaven. We should not think that our prosperity and the so-called good works we do will buy us a ticket to heaven either (although the rich man did not show any charity to Lazarus).
Guilty as the Rich Man
Finally, note that the beggar was named but the rich man was not, and I would surmise that the thinking is that any rich man can fit that bill. You may be “rich” in learning and see some young men who live on the street saying they would like to go to school but do not have the means. You pass them every day and you do nothing about it even though you can and have been even drawn (by Holy Spirit to do something). If you do not act on the desire to help, you would be as guilty as the rich man.
Let us think like Jesus, love and serve all of God’s children as the Holy Spirit leads.
So be it!
Botsio is a Christian lecturer, an e-learning administrator, a poet, and a freelance writer.